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Cato Corp. reports lower sales

Charlotte-based clothing retailer Cato Corp. today said sales for the five weeks that ended Saturday totaled $97.4 million, an 8 percent decrease from $105.7 million for the five-week period that ended April 3, 2010.

Same-store sales for the month decreased 9 percent.

Sales for the nine weeks that ended Saturday totaled $183.9 million, a 1 percent decrease from $185.7 million for the nine weeks that ended April 3, 2010.

Year-to-date same-store sales decreased 3 percent from the prior year.

March sales were hurt by the fact that Easter is in April of this year whereas last year it was in March, Cato said.

The company is not changing its first-quarter guidance of earnings per diluted share of 93 cents to 96 cents, compared with 85 cents last year.

As of Saturday, Cato operated 1,282 stores in 31 states, compared with 1,270 stores in 31 states as of April 3, 2010.

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